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Book source: The Javanese in Suriname, Parsudi Suparlan, Arizona State Univ., Tempe, 1995. ISBN 1-881044-02-5

Subject: [Javanese] Some facts

From 1890-1939 some 32,986 Javanese contract workers came to Suriname. Who were those Javanese ? From interviews and documents some Javanese claimed that they came because they had been recruited through fraud. According to very few they went to Suriname because they wished to do so. Some women even claimed they were kidnapped. How about the recruiting sytem in Indonesia ? There were several recruiting agencies set up. The centers were located in Jakarta, Semarang and a few places in Sumatra. On the island of Java these recruiting agencies were private companies while the ones in Sumatra belonged to plantation owners. The 'bosses' of these recruiting firms were Europeans while field work was performed by native Javanese. These Javanese recruiters were paid a commission of 80 guilders for each person recruited. The Javanese worked 266 days of the year and their daily wage was 30 cents. Thus the commission was a good incentive. This might be the reason so many Javanese felt they were tricked in coming to Suriname. From where did these Javanese come ? Most of them were shipped from Jakarta but others (Javanese who previously worked on plantations in Borneo or Sumatra) left from Bandjarmasin and Medan. One should remember that the Javanese were recruited as individuals and they were strangers to each other. Thus during the long miserable journey by boat a kind of bonding occurred and they became to feel more like relatives at the end of the voyage. -----

Met dank aan Albert Buys

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